Clues to what killed the birds?

catherinetFebruary 6, 2014

I don't feed the birds except in severe weather.........which we are having now. I have a big plant saucer on the ground and put mixed seed in it every day. Twice now, I've seen just feathers. I think its from juncos.

Since there's snow, I can see footprints, but the only footprints I think I saw were rabbits and maybe deer.

So I'm thinking a hawk? If its a hawk versus a cat, or something else, are there different clues that would let me know what might be doing this? There are only a fair number of feathers.......no blood or body parts.
Any idea?
Thanks.

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kendra2003

I've had that happen (though to Blue Jays). My guess if there are no Cat footprints would be a Sharp-Shinned or a Coopers. I'm pretty sure a Coopers got a few of the Blue Jays around here because I had seen one hanging out from time to time.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 2:04PM
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don_in_colorado

As Kendra suggested, with the absence of cat tracks, a bird of prey is a pretty good bet.

Don B.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 8:55PM
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birding_nut

And Sharp-shinneds and Coopers eat the whole bird, most often plucking it and then consuming the body parts starting with the head. I have watched Sharp-shinneds eat all the bones, including the entire legs and feet (they rip the leg off and swallow it whole). So, with these hawks, you usually only find the feathers...and sometimes the beak depending on the bird species that was killed.

BN

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 11:40AM
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catherinet

Thanks everyone.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 12:39PM
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surya55_gw

Catherinet- I'm sorry for the birds- they risk their lives to grab a quick bite. It's a shame the dreadful winter we're having so far. I am WAY over my budget for bird food but there's a ton of ice/snow and nothing else for them to eat or peck at.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Aurore

Are there a lot of feathers?
If there are only a few little fluffy ones it could be nothing more than the birds squabbling among themselves over the food.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 4:54PM
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catherinet

There were quite a few feathers. :(

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 7:07PM
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